Volleyball Terms & Rules

Volleyball originated in the United States, and in 1995 the sport was 100 years old. Volleyball, like soccer, is one of the top-ranked participation sports. In 1895, William G. Morgan, an instructor at the Holyoke, Massachusetts, YMCA, created the sport of volleyball, also called mintonette, by combining components from basketball, baseball, tennis and handball. According to Volleyball.com, in 2009 there were more than 46 million Americans who played volleyball and more than 800 million players across the world that played at least one day a week. Furthermore, just knowing some of the basic terms and rules of the sport, any individual can enjoy a game of volleyball.


A dig is when a player passes on a spiked ball to another player right before the ball hits the floor. Once the ball has been saved, the team has two additional chances, called hits, to get the ball back to the opposing team or they fault on the play. Moreover, a player may not hit the ball two times in a row unless blocking the ball within the same instance.

Bump Pass

A bump pass requires the player to put both forearms together to bump the ball with an underhand motion. The bump pass is made to a player on the same team right after receiving a pass from the opponent. In addition, to better control the ball during this pass, the involvement of the total body and specifically the shoulders helps successfully move the ball.


A spike is an attack hit that is made by a player on the offense to the opposing team in an attempt to stop the play of the ball. The ball is hit in a downward motion toward the floor or at the opponent’s blocker. During an attack hit, tipping is permitted only if the ball is cleanly hit and not caught or thrown. Players in the front zone can spike the ball at any height as long as they are within their own playing space.

Jump Serve

A jump serve is similar to that of a tennis serve. The server begins by tossing the ball straight up into the air and then jumps up to hit the ball in a downward motion to the opposing team, called the defense. Jump serves should only be performed if you are able to hit the ball well; a jump serve requires good vertical height and arm strength. Only the player to the back right located in the service zone can put the ball into play. In addition, the other sets in the game will be started by the team that did not previously serve the ball.

About this Author

Based in Atlanta, Javonne Blackley is an ISSA-certified fitness trainer and former collegiate track and field athlete who started writing in 2009. She runs a personal training business with more than 10 years experience in the fitness industry. Blackley received her Bachelor of Science in fashion merchandising from Georgia Southern University, and serves as a positive influence to individuals looking to effectively maximize optimal health.